Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA), part of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), was discussed during the May RBCA annual meeting and during this week’s RBCA board meeting. On Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 a.m., the City Council will hold a public hearing about MHA for residential development.
Under the MHA-R program, new multi-family residential development would be required to provide affordable units (performance) or make an in-lieu payment. The MHA-R program will be implemented as increases in residential development capacity are approved. Among other things, the proposed ordinance would:
·Establish the Council’s intent as to implementation of the MHA-R program;
·Establish the applicability of and exemptions from the program;
·Establish requirements for units provided through performance; and
·Establish procedures for seeking modifications to program requirements.
Written Comments may be sent to: Councilmember Rob Johnson, Legislative Department, 600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2, P.O. Box 34025, Seattle, WA 98124-4025 or by email to email@example.com. Written comments should be received by Monday, June 20 at 12 p.m.
The Seattle City Council is considering amendments to the Seattle Comprehensive Plan and the City’s Land Use Code to implement the Mayor’s Recommended Comprehensive Plan, known as Seattle 2035. The proposed amendments are available at 2035.seattle.gov or seattle.legistar.com (search for Council Bill 118683). The Comprehensive Plan guides land use throughout Seattle.
The Mayor’s Recommended Plan proposes to significantly rewrite the Seattle Comprehensive Plan. Some of the changes proposed are:
Include a growth strategy to distribute the City’s share of growth allocated by the King County Growth Management Planning Council, which is 70,000 new housing units and 115,000 new jobs by 2035 by allocating growth estimates to urban villages throughout the City. The recommended growth strategy calls for continued growth in urban centers and urban villages with particular emphasis on centers and the villages with very good transit service.
Emphasize Race and Social Equity as a core value of the Comprehensive Plan, implementing Resolution 31577.
Change the way urban centers and urban villages are depicted on the Future Land Use Map, identify a potential future urban village at N. 130th Street at Interstate 5 and allow for potential future expansions of urban villages near frequent transit.
Identify appropriate scales and densities within different types expected in each category of urban center and village.
Add a section about transportation safety.
Add policies supporting fair housing and seeking to overcome historic patterns of segregation.
Create a new Parks and Open Space Element. Remove numeric goals for open space amenities. Recognize the importance of public open spaces that are not City-owned parks.
Simplify the Neighborhood Planning element, removing policies that specify how neighborhood plans should be prepared. No changes are proposed to any neighborhood plan.
Additional information regarding the scope of changes and a comparison of the existing and proposed Comprehensive Plan is available in the “Directors Report” available at 2035.seattle.gov.
The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee will hold a public hearing to take comments on the Mayor’s Recommended Plan on June 27, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. The hearing will be held in the Seattle City Council Chambers at City Hall: 600 Fourth Avenue, 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA 98104.
For those who wish to testify, sign-up sheets will be available outside of Council Chambers starting at 5:30 p.m. Childcare will be provided.
Written comments on the proposal will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on June 27. Please send comments to Amy Gore in Councilmember Rob Johnson’s office via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Small Sparks Fund provides funding for neighborhood-initiated projects that promote community engagement and relationship building. Groups can request up to $1,000 to help fund Night Out activities such as outreach materials, cultural entertainment, music, food, and kids’ activities, to name a few. The deadline for applications is Friday, July 1 and you must register first with the Department of Neighborhoods.
More information about the Small Sparks Fund is available online. It is open to applicants year-round for such activities as block parties, neighborhood sports tournaments, community picnics, and emergency preparedness training, to name a few.
Night Out is a national crime prevention event designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, increase neighborhood support in anti-crime efforts, and unite communities.
City Light and District 4 Councilmember Rob Johnson are co-hosting a City Light Strategic Business Plan Outreach Meeting on Wednesday, May 25, 6:30 to 7:45 p.m., at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, 6535 Ravenna Ave NE.
City Light staff will provide a short presentation on the electric utility’s strategic investments, budget, and rate proposal for 2017-18 followed by a Q&A session. Applications will be available for the Utility Discount Program in addition to information about the solar and conservation programs and customer rebates.
City Light’s first strategic plan was approved by the City Council in 2012 and is updated every two years.
More information is available online. Unable to make the meeting but want to provide City Light with input about future electric service? Take their survey, also available online.
You may have received a packet in the mail or visited the In Motion table at last night’s RBCA annual meeting. So, what is the campaign all about?
Metro Transit’s In Motion program is asking Ravenna-Bryant community members to pledge to drive less. By taking part in the program, residents can find more ways to give their car a break and explore healthier transportation options available in Ravenna-Bryant.
If you take the pledge by August 7, you can get an ORCA card good for two weeks of unlimited travel. After signing up, program participants will be entered in weekly drawings for gift cards to local businesses.
Ravenna-Bryant was chosen, along with Capitol Hill, for the In Motion program because of the recent opening of the Link light rail extension serving our neighborhoods. Since 2004, In Motion has provided 36 King County neighborhoods and communities with tools and information about how residents can explore healthier travel options.
How equitable is Seattle right now? When developing the drafted Comprehensive Plan update, access to opportunity was considered in all areas of our city. Access to opportunity includes things that contribute to social, economic, and physical well-being. As is shown in the map below, the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood is identified as a neighborhood that has average to high access to opportunity.
The May 3 committee meeting presentation indicates that the City’s equity goals include increasing opportunity in neighborhoods that are currently considered areas of low opportunity and increasing housing choices in neighborhoods currently considered areas of high opportunity.
A recent article in the Seattle Times reports that living in a low income community is among the aspects of poverty that are particularly damaging and can be addressed by public policy. In addition to addressing low family income and poor education, which are also among the aspects identified, local policy can impact where people live.
The roots of current equity disparities in our city may be found when reviewing local history that included severe segregation policies. For instance, from the 1910s through the 1960s, many Seattle neighborhoods, including Ravenna-Bryant, practiced overt racial exclusion through land use covenants. To this day, communities are still working to right the wrongs of the past and create equity throughout the city. Now that we are coming to terms with past policies that created segregation and contributed to poverty, and now that we can identify the factors contributing to continued poverty, we have the opportunity to establish new policies that can reduce disparities and increase equity in our city.
Speeding cars and difficulties crossing arterial streets are common mobility complaints from Ravenna-Bryant community members no matter if they are walking, biking, or driving a motor vehicle, according to preliminary results from an RBCA survey.
Earlier this year, RBCA formed a Mobility Assessment Task Force to identify neighborhood mobility-related problems and develop an action plan for addressing them. The need to proactively address problems became evident when mobility-related problems consistently were brought up during community meetings related to land use, public safety, and most proposed changes in Ravenna-Bryant.
Among survey responses, the most common (52%) were about walking, 23% about driving, and 17% about biking. Crossing all arterial streets was the primary concern specifically because cars are often speeding and because cars are parked too close to corners making it difficult to see oncoming traffic. For pedestrians, cars often do not yield to them when they are crossing streets and crosswalk lights are slow to change at 20th Avenue NE and in front of Assumption-St. Bridget School.
Not surprisingly, problems related to NE 65th Street predominate survey results, no matter the mobility mode. Crossing NE 65th Street is particularly difficult when drivers use it as a four lane road. Pedestrians report getting stuck halfway across when cars in one direction stop and cars traveling in the other direction do not. The corner of NE 65th Street and 15th Avenue NE is identified as particularly dangerous for a variety of reasons. Considering the Roosevelt light rail station will open in 5 years just a few blocks from this intersection, safety problems are especially concerning.
Both drivers and bikers identify traffic congestion and speeding motor vehicle drivers as common concerns. While bikers identify a lack of bicycle safety infrastructure as a problem, drivers commonly identify backed up traffic behind left-turning cars and at traffic signals.
The Mobility Assessment Task Force will complete our work this summer. The next meeting will be held in June with the date yet to be determined. If you are interested in being a part of the task force or RBCA’s Transportation Committee, please contact us.
The Seattle City Council yesterday unanimously voted to include a $290 million Housing Levy on the August 2, 2016 Primary Election ballot. The levy proposal focuses on increasing affordable housing production and preservation, supporting homelessness prevention, and fostering home ownership for low-income residents.
The levy is part of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) which will be the focus of RBCA’s upcoming annual meeting. Join us and learn more about the levy and other HALA policy proposals.
Most Ravenna-Bryant residents are comfortable with more development along NE 65th Street, according to a 2013 survey conducted by RBCA. Will the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) set the stage for increased development on NE 65th Street? Attend the RBCA’s annual meeting and find out.
Of the 610 residents who took the survey, most agreed that traffic congestion is their biggest concern. People also agreed that the community needs better pedestrian and bike safety features; to work with developers to ensure neighborhood-friendly development; and ensure parking spaces are included with property development. Many people who reported being comfortable with more development stated that they want to discourage automobile usage while people who reported not being comfortable with more development were more likely to be concerned with the loss of parking.
The biggest concerns among the 64% of Ravenna-Bryant residents who indicated that they are comfortable with more development were:
Pedestrian and bike safety
Driving should not be encouraged.
Need to cater to modes of transportation other than cars
Limit parking so people will choose other modes of getting around.
Need for bike lanes/walking amenities/better streetscape
Yesterday, Mayor Ed Murray unveiled his proposal to enact a residential Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA-R) program which will require that new multifamily residential development in Seattle contribute to affordable housing, either with affordable homes in the building or payments to help construct them throughout the city.
This map shows the areas in north Seattle to which the program could apply, including the area around University Village and NE 55th Street. (See our previous post about NE 55th Street for information about how it is zoned.)
HALA contains many policy proposals, including MHA-R. Community members are invited to learn more about HALA and other land use issues affecting Ravenna-Bryant during our upcoming annual meeting. City staff will be on hand to discuss HALA policies and answer your questions.
As we start opening our windows to take in the warm weather, it’s time to think about preventing burglaries by securing windows when not home. Here are some tips from the Seattle Police Department:
Windows are a primary point of entry used by burglars. Without question, window security is a must. In terms of security, windows pose the greatest problem. Windows are left unlocked and open more often than doors. An open window, visible from the street or alley, may be the sole reason for your home to be selected by a burglar. The best window security advice is this: anytime you are away from home, close and lock your windows.
• Ground floor windows are more susceptible to break-ins and should be given priority for security improvements.
• Upper floor windows become attractive if they can be accessed from a stairway, tree, fence, ladder, or by climbing on balconies.
• Windows have latches, not locks, and therefore should have secondary blocking devices to prevent sliding them open from the outside.
• Windows that are painted shut do not keep burglars out. Burglars often pry these open.
• Keep expensive equipment and items away from your windows.
• Use curtains or blinds over any windows or doors that are easy to see into.
For a detailed flyer from SPD about window security, please leave a message on our Contact Us page.
Rents in the area south of NE 65th Street in Ravenna-Bryant increased 10-14% between 2014-2015 according to a recent Seattle Times article. Rents in the neighboring University District rose by more than 16% in the same time period.
The article notes that communities like the U-District and parts of Ravenna-Bryant are desirable because of their density which tends to mean that there are amenities like restaurants and easily accessible transit. With the UW light rail station opening last month, and with the Roosevelt light rail station opening in 5 years, the area will become even more desirable.
As Ravenna-Bryant becomes a more desirable place to live,
rents will continue to increase, pricing many people out of our community. The RBCA board recently adopted a vision statement that puts in words what we want our community to be like in 10-20 years. “Welcoming” and “diverse” are two adjectives the RBCA board chose to include in our vision statement. If rents continue to increase as they have in the past few years, Ravenna-Bryant may not be very economically diverse nor welcoming to all.
To address these issues throughout Seattle, the Mayor released a Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, commonly known as HALA. HALA contains multiple policies with the common goal of increasing affordable housing options throughout Seattle and, at the same time, maintaining and creating a livable city.
The RBCA’s annual meeting this year will focus on HALA. The meeting is open to all community members who want to learn more about the policies contained in HALA.
RBCA Annual Meeting
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center
Open House – Learn about HALA and get your questions answered one-on-one with city staff members.
The Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA) board of directors recently adopted a vision to guide activities. The vision puts in words what we would like Ravenna-Bryant to be like in 10-20 years.
Vision: Ravenna-Bryant is a welcoming, thriving, safe, diverse, and connected neighborhood.
One of the elements that impacts if our community is welcoming, thriving, safe, diverse, and connected is how people who live and work here, and those who visit our community, get around. The environment for walkers, bikers, motor vehicle drivers, and transit users is important for the future of our community.
So that RBCA can plan for a safe and welcoming environment for all to get around our community, we are establishing a plan that identifies current problems, identifies solutions that have worked for similar problems, and includes an action plan for implementing and advocating for solutions.
We are currently collecting information about specific problems in the Ravenna-Bryant community. (Please refer to the RBCA map to determine if a problem is located within our neighborhood.) We have collected information from previous surveys conducted by RBCA and the City of Seattle, through community and RBCA board meetings, and from our neighbors. We are now reaching out for more input.
Please click here to take the survey by April 30, 2016. You may take the survey as many times as needed.
Some problems already identified:
Unsafe walking and biking all around University Village. Unsafe connection for bicyclists between neighborhood streets and Burke-Gilman Trail. Some areas don’t have sidewalks or sidewalks in poor condition.
Unsafe pedestrian crossing at un-marked crosswalks along NE 55th, NE 65th, and NE 75th Streets.
Unsafe pedestrian crossing at un-marked crosswalks along 25th Avenue NE.
Unsafe pedestrian environments on some neighborhood streets because of speeding cars.
Insufficient car parking on 35th Avenue NE on weekends. Few places for bikes to park.
Motor vehicle traffic on NE 65th Street during rush hour.
Cars backed up at major intersections with no left-turn traffic signals.
Insufficient car parking around Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center when events in progress.
Unsafe bicycle environment along NE 65th Street, especially at 15th Avenue NE.
Unsafe bicycle environment along 35th Avenue NE.
Cars park too close to crosswalks/corners making it difficult for pedestrians, bikers, and motor vehicle drivers to safely cross street, especially along 35th Avenue NE.
Seattle Police Department crime trend data show a significant increase in the number of burglaries that take place in secure parking garages in apartments and condominiums.
According to SPD, in the majority of these crimes, burglars did not need to force their way into the garage but piggybacked in through the pedestrian door or followed a car into the garage. In addition to prowling cars, bicycles and storage unites are also targeted.
Here are some tips for preventing these types of crimes.
Secure garages are only secure if entering and exiting drivers watch the door fully close behind them every time.
Before entering or exiting a garage, look around to determine if anyone is hanging out near the entrance. Pay attention to them and let them know they’ve been seen.
Remote controls for secure garages should never be left inside parked cars. They provide future access to returning thieves.
Remove all valuables from your vehicle every time you park.
Disable internal trunk releases per your owner’s manual instructions.
Audible alarms or other theft deterrent devices can be effective.
Invest in heavy-duty locks for your storage unit and/or bicycle. Burglars often bring bolt cutters.
Share information about incidents and suspicious activities with your neighbors.
Report all crimes and suspicious activities to 911 immediately.
The City still needs applications for their Housing and Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) focus groups. The deadline is today, February 26th but, due to a lack of applications from our area, has been extended until Monday February 29th for folks in Ravenna-Bryant .
There are 65 HALA recommendations but some of the ones that might be of interest to folks in Ravenna-Bryant are:
Anything that is currently zoned lowrise or commercial in our neighborhood could be upzoned. Single family zones are not being considered for an upzone unless they’re in an Urban Village or Center, but proposed policy changes for Accesory Dwelling Units (ADUs or “mother-in-laws”) and Detached Accesory Dwelling Units (DADUs or “backyard cottages”) could change the single family neighborhoods in Seattle. Learn more about how Ravenna-Bryant is currently zoned through these two blog posts about 35th Avenue and “Downtown Ravenna” or just look at our RBCA map.
Urban Villages like Roosevelt would see even more growth. Currently, a dotted line for the Urban Village Boundary for Roosevelt comes into the single family neighborhood east of 15th Avenue NE; this has the potential to upzone some single family homes east of Roosevelt High School. We wrote a blog post about that here.
An expanded, perhaps doubled, housing levy could go to ballot next year.
Read about all 65 recommendations here. Yes, it’s 76 pages!
Do you have interest in being part of this discussion? The focus groups are facilitated not by the City but by a third party. Some land use knowledge is helpful, but not required. The focus groups meet through the end of 2016.
The second Design Review Board meeting for the new project on Union Bay Place is tonight (February 22) at 6:30 at University Heights. This project is across from Tully’s at “Five Corners” and buttresses the Burke Gilman Trail; however, due to slope issues, the project will not be connected to the Burke.
Just East on the Burke Gilman Trail, the new restaurants in the former Bill the Butcher site have opened. This site was considered as a bike hotel, but people in Laurelhurst were concerned about the lack of parking for such a project. The Laurelhurst Community Association Blog has written a post about the new restaurants and now appear to be content with having more options for eating out near their neighborhood.
The February Ravenna-Bryant Community Association board meeting will take place Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., at the Ravenna Eckstein Community Center. Please note that in 2016 meetings will start at 6:30, not 7:00 p.m.
In addition to Land Use Committee and Transportation Committee updates, the agenda includes a discussion with Councilmember Rob Johnson and updates to the workplan for 2016.
All RBCA meetings are open to the public – please join us!